European leaders seek new economic rules in meeting with Obama
Washington, D.C., United States
November 28, 2011 02:35 pm EST
Economy, Business And Finance, Macro Economics, International (foreign) Trade, Economy, Business And Finance, Macro Economics, Government Debt, Politics, Diplomacy, Summit
European leaders met with President Barack Obama Monday at the White House to figure out how to avoid another worldwide economic collapse.
Obama is pressuring the 17-nation European Union to resolve its banking and debt crises before they drag down the U.S. economy’s shaky recovery from recession.
"This is something they need to solve and they have the capacity to solve, both financial capacity and political will," White House press spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.
At the same time, the European Union is trying to show the United States and other countries that it is managing its economic problems appropriately as the Europeans seek foreign investment.
Few details of the meeting were released publicly after U.S. and European officials said they preferred to keep the negotiations private.
However, they gave a glimpse of what would be discussed in statements before the meeting.
“We need also to develop a transatlantic agenda to growth and jobs,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.
He hinted that new regulations could be coming on U.S. and European trade when he said, “…we will also be discussing how to increase our international cooperation and build a stronger and fairer rules-based system.”
The meeting Monday was one of several recent discussions between Obama and European economic leaders.
He has telephoned Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Greek Prime Minster Lukas Papademos to talk about strategies for avoiding economic collapse.
First Greece, Ireland and Portugal were facing default on their debt, beginning about two years ago. Now Spain, Italy and France are facing the same kinds of problems.
Obama has called the European debt crisis one of the greatest threats to the U.S. economic recovery.
The European Union’s primary method of handling its debt crisis is through the $440 billion euro European Financial Stability Facility, which provided emergency bailout loans to Greece, Italy and Ireland in exchange for concessions on how their budgets are structured.
European economic ministers still are trying to figure out how they will protect government bond markets.
Foreign investment from the United States could be one of the backstop funding sources they seek.
They also are considering allowing the European Central Bank to buy out at-risk national debt as the lender of last resort for member countries and their banks.
However, advocates of the proposal must overcome opposition from Germany, which has Europe’s largest economy.
Among European economic leaders at the meeting Monday with Obama was European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
“We will both need to take action to address the near-term growth concerns as well as fiscal and financial vulnerabilities,” Van Rompuy said. “Together, we will also look for ways to use our very strong economic ties for creating growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The meeting at the White House comes less than two weeks before the European economic leaders are scheduled to discuss tighter controls over budgets of European Union member nations.
At the Dec. 9 meeting, Germany, France and Italy are expected to take the lead in a move to change the treaty that governs the European Union.
Their proposed revisions would force member nations to submit to frequent audits of their economic policies and to ask for agreement from other European nations before seeking outside financial assistance.
The proposals would be the broadest rewrite of Europe’s economic policies since the European Union was formed in 1967.
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